No Way We’re the 5th Drunkest %@#& City!

Dave Mann

Men’s Health magazine has released its list of the 100 drunkest cities in America.

The top five “drunkest”:

1. Fresno, Calif.
2. Reno, Nev.
3. Billings, Mont.
4. Riverside, Calif.
5. Austin

I can’t make any claim for the top four cities, because I’ve never been to them. But I find it hard to believe that Austin, Texas, is the fifth drunkest city in the country—except maybe during South By Southwest.

Here, supposedly, are the five least drunkest:

1. Boston
2. Yonkers, N.Y.
3. Rochester, N.Y.
4. Salt Lake City
5. Miami

Salt Lake City obviously makes sense.

But Boston? I was in Boston on New Years Day this year, and if that’s the least drunkest city, this country’s in serious trouble.

Men’s Health used DWI arrests and alcohol-related accidents as two main factors in their calculation. I bet those numbers skewed the ratings toward places where people drive more often.

The 12 “drunkest” places on this list are all western cities (west of the Mississippi)—spread out places with poor public transportation, where people drive to bars and where drunk-driving rates are probably higher.

Meanwhile, 5 of the 12 least drunkest are large eastern cities—New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Miami and Boston—with extensive public transportation systems, where people can get drunk and are more likely to take the subway or bus home.

So there you have it—compelling evidence that us Austinites aren’t a bunch of lushes.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for happy hour.

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Dave Mann is a former editor of the Observer.


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